Cheptegei is the first Ugandan to set four world records, five if the 10,000m is ratified.
Joshua Cheptegei’s 5,000m record is finally official. That’s right, it wasn’t, until Wednesday, 75 days after it was set it in Monaco.
Cheptegei had little doubt his 12:35:36 mark would be ratified but the IAAF confirmation process is always liable to a surprise, worst of all a failed post-race drugs test. The debate over the Nike Zoom dragon fly shoes Cheptegei wore for his subsequent 10,000m record-shattering display in Valencia, for instance, shows the provocative nature of a new world record.
Despite the approval of the IAAF, critics have maintained that the shoes – which contain a full-length plate and a revolutionary foam known as Pebax – give runners an unusual advantage. The IAAF, though promising to look into the matter, will not be expected to take the shoe argument into consideration for the ratification of Cheptegei’s 10,000 record.
Ultimately, it’s Cheptegei’s ability behind his accomplishments, which have no equal in Ugandan history. Cheptegei is the first Ugandan to set four world records, five if the 10,000m is ratified. He currently holds three, the 5k and 15k records being the other two.
John Aki Bua was the first Ugandan to break a world record, this in the 400m hurdles at the 1972 Olympics. And it often seemed like he would be the only one for many years to come. Enter Cheptegei!